As I write this, Rockford is just starting day 6 of Phase 4 in Illinois. Restaurants, bars and most businesses have reopened their doors with several safety restrictions and protocols in place...or at least there should be.

Upon returning to the office on Monday, the Winnebago County Health Department was greeted by over 30 complaints from residents about businesses or customers violating COVID-19 safety guidelines during the first weekend of Phase 4 in the Stateline. Now they have been forced to play hard ball with non-compliance.

Public Health Administrator Dr. Sandra Martell released a statement to WIFR on Tuesday about the process the County will be undertaking to enforce safety guidelines in the Stateline. She said;

We reach out to the businesses/ establishments to address the complaint. If there are repeated complaints, an on-site inspection will be done. Validated complaints of failure to comply with the Executive Order or local ordinance for Food Establishments, Body Art, Tanning, Hotels, and Public Swimming Pools will result in an in-house hearing to review the findings, provide education, and develop a corrective action plan. If there is continued non-compliance, then their permit will be suspended resulting in closure. For businesses not permitted through the Winnebago County Health Department, a Closure Order will be issued. City of Rockford businesses may be fined based on local ordinance. A business/establishment may refuse service to patrons who do not follow posted instruction and are required to make accommodation for any patrons/clients that are unable to comply due to a disability or health condition.

May I be blunt for a moment? Face masks SUCK, but I do believe they are a necessary evil right now. If we want to keep Rockford on the right track to containing COVID-19, we need to be smart, suck it up, and make some uncomfortable sacrifices. I know some people feel all these safety guidelines are a bunch of hoopla, and maybe they kinda are, but Illinois is doing better than most states in the nation, so there has to be a reason. We will get through this if we work as a team, and not as individuals rebelling against the rules.

Catch Lil Zim on ‘Q98.5 Mornings with Lil Zim & JB’ on Q98.5 from 6:00 a.m. to 10 a.m. Follow her on TwitterInstagram, and Facebook